Weekly Update: 5/11 to 5/17

“Running gave me a whole new life. I can’t even remember my past—it’s like it wasn’t me. I have a good life now, and it’s all because I run.” – Bill O’Shields

I might have overdone it with the pictures…but it was such a gorgeous week!

Monday2600 Meter Swim + Strength/Core/PT/Stretching
Besides feeling like a truck hit me from the weekend run and bike miles, it was pretty uneventful! Took me awhile to warm up in the pool and I felt weak when I was lifting. I stretched and foam rolled at home later that night.

TuesdayYoga + 10 General Aerobic Run
I felt pretty stiff when I hit my yoga mat, but put in a solid hour of yoga before work, including core work. It felt great to start the day with low impact activity. After work, it was 87 degrees and SUPER windy. It was such a pretty day, even though the weather was not ideal:

imageI was supposed to do 8 miles between 7:45-8 minute pace, but I ended up doing 10 at 7:58. Not as fast as I’d hoped – I wanted to be closer to that 7:45. Even though I couldn’t pick it up, my splits were very consistent and I didn’t feel like I was being tortured, so I added distance to compensate for the lack of speed. There was so much pollen in the air that my throat felt like I swallowed sand, and my whole body was coated in it by the time I finished. I started the run with form drills, did MYRTLs after, and spent time foam rolling and stretching while watching TV later that night.

WednesdayTrack Workout (3 x 3200 @ Goal Marathon Pace) + Yoga

imageNo, I didn’t do hurdles 🙂 I would eat sh*t if I tried those.  I did some core work in the morning and headed to the track at Parkland High School after work. I reeeaaaalllly dragged my feet in getting started. I don’t do 3200s that often (or ever, really), and I hadn’t done a single track workout since late December. It was right after Christmas, and right around the time my Achilles freaked out on me. I wasn’t trying to hit 5K pace and I know I’ve done some speed since then, but I was scared. I didn’t want to set myself back with my Achilles or feel like crap in general. My goal marathon pace is 7:00/mile. My workout was to warm up for a mile, do 3×2 miles at 7:00 pace with two minute jog recoveries, and cool down for a mile. Here’s how the workout really went:

  • Warmup: 1 Mile @ 8:34 (Easy Means Easy!)
  • 3200 #1: 6:54, 6:52
  • Recovery: .32 miles @ 8:37
  • 3200 #2: 6:48, 6:41
  • Recovery: .31 miles @ 8:16
  • 3200 #3: 6:54, 6:43
  • Recovery: .38 miles @ 8:43
  • Cooldown: 1 mile @ 9:09
  • Overall Pace: 7:27

I. Was. STOKED. I had so many positives that came from this run, and only one negative. The positives: I negative split each 3200 (I was trying to). My first one was my slowest one, but usually my last one is my slowest one because I burn myself out by going too hard. It was my first track workout in forever and I felt like I nailed it. I felt good, and my legs felt fresh. My achilles didn’t ache during (a little after, but totally normal). My only negative was that I wanted my last repeat to be my fastest. I was pretty happy that my final mile was the second fastest of the entire workout, though.

I left and did a short yoga practice – about 40 minutes. Not the full hour I’d planned on, but I felt good after the track workout and I was glad to stretch it all out. I made sure to foam roll and ice my Achilles while watching TV later that night – being consistent seems to really be making a difference.

Thursday 5 Mile Recovery Run + 25 Mile Ride
It was a true spring morning and I headed out with the intention of running four easy miles. I expected to feel terrible from the speed workout but my legs felt decent. I still kept the pace nice and easy, averaging 8:23 (right in my recovery zone) but I ended up running five miles. It was 42 degrees and the sun was coming up! After work, the weather was still pretty incredible so I headed out for a nice ride and found some great new roads while exploring:

imageI came home and did MYRTLs, core, stretched and foam rolled. It was a great day!

Friday2700 meter Swim  + Strength/Core/PT/Stretching
I had zero desire to swim when I woke up and almost skipped it. But I told myself if I went and started and still felt badly after the first set, I’d listen to my body and hit the hot tub or the sauna. I made it through the warm-up and the first set, so I kept going and felt better than I thought. After work, the last thing I wanted to do was go back to the gym, but I went and busted out my strength/core/PT in record time. I just really wasn’t feeling it on Friday.

Saturday18 mile Run + 18 Mile Ride + Stretching/Core
I got up early, ate my bagel and almond butter, packed my gear and headed out. My plan was to run a loop near the trail that I often run on, but to stick mainly to roads to get a good dose of hills. I’d planned to run parts of the trail to switch up the surface and give my Achilles a rest. My route ended up being absolutely perfect. It was overcast, humid, and drizzled every so often (which felt great). I started easy- actually, I was running easy for the first eight miles, averaging 7:45-8s (but closer to the 8 minute range for most). Once I hit the trail for a stretch around mile nine, I decided to get my sh*t together and pick up the pace. I used a strategy that comes from my girl Ashley over at PrettyPinkLaces (check her out – badass Ironman/triathlete/runner!): at the beginning of a mile, she picks up the pace for one minute. I like this strategy because when you relax and kick back, you have higher turnover from your pickup and hold a stronger pace. It’s like a glorified fartlek. I decided I’d try it for the middle portion of my run and see how it went. Well, I averaged well under 7:30 for the remainder of my run, with the exception of one or two miles in there where I hit some pretty nasty hills! Overall pace, 7:39. Success!

I met up with my buddy/neighbor, the one and only Bart Yasso and Bill (keep reading for more about him) for coffee at Starbucks. I spent time chatting and recovering before I hopped on my bike and did a nice recovery ride. It was just over an hour and I covered 18.39 miles. Since I didn’t have to start from my house, I didn’t have to climb the HUGE mountain that I live on the other side of to get to the area where I enjoy riding. By this point, the sun was shining and it was absolutely perfect out:


I waited until after my run to do form drills, but I still did them. I wanted to save energy but I didn’t want to skip them. I did the drills, MYRTLs, core, stretching and foam rolling once I finally got home.

Sunday8 Mile Recovery Run + 51 Mile Ride + Stretching/Core
I felt surprisingly good when I woke up on Sunday and got the bright idea to head to Trexler Game Preserve to run the Border Trail as my recovery run. I was inspired by Jen Chooses Joy, who has been KILLING it on the trails lately! The elevation kind of makes the word “recovery” obsolete:


However, the pace was sloooowwwww because much to my surprise, my husband decided to join me! Here we are at the creek crossing – you have to go through the water to stay on the trail:


I don’t know the trail at the game preserve well but I want to start going there more often. It’s got some sick climbs and uneven terrain so when he got wind of where I was going, I think he offered to come out of concern. But I didn’t care. However, dude hasn’t run since ummmm…2009? And he goes and busts out 8.5 miles with 1,500 feet of elevation gain? Way to just jump back into it. He doesn’t work out – he has an extremely physical job, but he doesn’t have any sort of regular exercise regimen. Not one crunch, push up, etc. I wish I could say I hate him…but he’s pretty great 🙂 I’m pretty sure it took me almost an hour longer with him tagging along, but I didn’t care. He can come every week if he wants to. Here are some more shots from the creek:

And from the mild sections of the trail:

image image

After our run, I would have been good with calling it a day but I had planned a long ride for the afternoon. My coach didn’t give me bike rides for the weekend but I truly enjoy being outside so I add them in. Plus, I’ve been feeling REALLY strong after a few weeks of ramping up my bike miles. Emily and I hit the road with a route in mind but I was considering cutting it short if my legs felt fatigued. Once we got moving, I felt great. I’d come up with a fun new route that had a whole bunch of new roads to explore. We did about another 3,000 feet of climbing. The loop we did looks pretty cool on a map:


Since the morning run took longer than expected and I hung around with Emily for a bit after the ride, I bailed on everything else: my form drills, MYRTLs, core, etc. I did foam roll and ice my Achilles, though. I don’t feel bad about it – it was one missed day of those, and I’ve been diligent for the past three weeks.

Swim: 5300 meters ♥ Bike:  89 miles ♥  Run: 50 miles

Other fun events from the week…on Friday night, my friend Bill was in town. He’s actually a friend of Bart Yasso’s that I met when we all traveled to a the Marshall Marathon together. He was featured in the November 2011 issue of Runner’s World. They did a story about how running changed his life. He was incarcerated for 14 years and began running at 36 years old, and it saved his life. He went from being a several pack per day smoker to running 70 miles per week on a half mile “track” in prison. He’s truly an amazing person with an incredible story. He reached out to Bart when he was in prison to tell him his story, and they’ve been friends ever since. In the fall, he qualified for Boston at a race down south – ran something like a 3:11! When I ran a marathon in Columbia, SC last year, he met up with us and ran it:

Bil on the left, Mark A. in the middle, and me!

He’s from South Carolina, and he came up this weekend and stayed with Bart to run the Pocono Run for the Red Marathon on Sunday. To get him all carbed up and ready for the race, Bart had a little pizza party for him with few of us that know Bill. Bart lives five minutes from my house. It was such a fun night! Bart is pretty into biking these days and was showing us his amazing bike collection…and his dusty Zipp wheels:

imageYup, those are COBWEBs collecting on those amazing wheels! What?! I’ll take them off of his hands and clean them up any day!!

Oh yeah – the weather was hot,humid, and extremely sunny on Sunday. Our buddy Bill pulled a 3:17 in the marathon! I heard there were a TON of DNFs at the race due to conditions, and he goes and kills it anyway. Incredible!

Have you ever gone trail running? Anyone else feel like becoming a runner has changed your life and had a positive impact?

32 Replies to “Weekly Update: 5/11 to 5/17”

  1. wow girl you’re a crazy awesome runner! great job with those miles. you’re making me feel lazy over here! love those trail pix — i wish i had some trails to run around here. i’ll have to find some upstate.

  2. Nice job this week! I like your friend’s strategy of picking it up for the first minute of every mile. I actually invented a similar strategy for my tempo runs, but in reverse: if I’m on my gym’s track where 1 mile is 6 laps, I’ll do the first 4 hard and then the last two ease up a bit, then the first 5 hard and last 1 ease up a bit, etc until I build to a full mile at tempo pace. Having an easy lap to look forward to makes the tempo miles seem less daunting, and it actually doesn’t even slow down my splits that much. And since I build up to a full mile by the end, my last mile is almost always the fastest! It’s so smart to practice pacing and energy management in workouts.

    That’s so cool that you know such awesome and inspiring people! I wish I had a story like that. I don’t think running has changed me that much or made me a better person, it has just brought some structure to my life and allowed me to make some awesome new friends. I’m always in awe of the people who have been transformed like this, but most of the changes in my life has been more subtle and gradual. 🙂

    1. It’s really a great strategy – I am so going to try yours the next time I have a track workout! I usually use a local track at one of the high schools so I could see doing an 800 hard and kicking back for the second 800 (if I’m doing mile repeats), and then 1200 hard with a 400 kicked back, and then try for the full mile. I am not smart like this – you guys are geniuses! I agree – I don’t have a life changing story like that but it definitely did the same for me – more structure, new friends. I can’t imagine life without it!

  3. Awesome job on those 3200s!
    I love that method you shared from Ashley about picking it up for the first minute of each mile, it’s something I’ll have to incorporate on my next long run. I saw similar advice once for when you’re approaching a hill- pick up the pace at the bottom of a hill you’re approaching to get out of the mindset of slowing down so much on uphills. It helps a lot!
    I wholeheartedly agree with Bill that my life is better because I’m a runner! The hard part is explaining it to all the non-runners out there 😉

    1. Thank you! I was so excited! I did that same trick on my last four miles of my 22 mile run back on Easter Sunday and I forgot about it until I was nearly halfway through my run. It worked like a charm! And yeah – life with running, SO MUCH BETTER! Non runners think we are nuts!

  4. Holy crap, what a week! Props to you for some very impressive splits (I LOVE negative splitting, it’s the best feeling ever!) Also, I’m geeking out a little that you’re friends with Bart Yasso. 🙂 Running definitely changed my life. I ran my first half marathon with my mom 3 years ago, and it’s given me the confidence to pursue a whole host of other challenges in my life since then.

    1. I feel so accomplished when I negative split! Like I did it right or something, LOL. I am fortunate that Runners World is in my hometown. The editors and staff are extremely kind, and Bart is wonderful to the local running community! he has some truly amazing stories and experiences to share, if you ever get a chance to hear him guess speak at a race I highly recommend it! I think it is so awesome that you run half marathon with your mom. I’m very close to my mom but she has trouble with her knees and ankles to prevent her from really ever running, she’s lucky if she can walk on most days! I can’t think of a cool experience to be able to share with her, you are so fortunate!

  5. Wow – that is an amazing week! How do you fit everything in? I feel like endurance running has given me confidence in myself -> if I can run 26.2 miles, what else can I do? I think that knowing that you have the persistence, willpower and belief to do these hard things definitely transfers to other parts of your life.

    1. Thank you! Running is a TOTAL confidence booster and I think it makes you feel unstoppable. My schedule is pretty conducive to getting in a morning workout and an afternoon workout. I start at 7 and I’m done by 2:30 – I’m a high school teacher! So, if I can get my act together in the morning I fit in something before work. The majority of my mileage/workouts happen after work, but I’m done pretty early. I’m usually always done with my workouts and home by 5:30ish, and I try to plan my dinners out over the weekend and food shop then so I can get something on the table for dinner! I’ve been pretty organized the past few weeks, but things aren’t as pretty if I get a little unorganized or lazy over the weekend!!!

  6. Wow! That sounds like an incredible week! I really need to get my bike out…and dust off the cobwebs. 😉

    I’ve only been trail running once, and it was because I took a wrong turn. I’d love to give it a try one day, but I’m clumsy and terrified of snakes.

    And, running has and continues to make a positive impact on me and my life. I love the feeling I get when I’m outside logging some miles. It’s the best way to relieve stress and I just have fun with it.

    1. Thank you!! And yesssss, get that bike out! It’s so much fun! And honestly, I think my legs felt a bit heavy for about two weeks as I was getting my “bike legs” back, but now that I’m used to it again it seems to be really helping my running. I’m a fair weather rider and HATE the trainer so by the time winter comes around, my bike is collecting cobwebs too. It’s really such a good cross training tool. I’m with you on the snake thing. I reallly want to go back to the game preserve next weekend but that’s the main thing I’m scared of!

  7. That’s an amazing week chica!!! And you mean to tell me that you didn’t tackle the hurdles ha! 😉 You have some amazing views and scenery to run in. I’ll be passing through your neck of the woods in a couple weeks 🙂

      1. Road trip/Family vacation to tour New York so I’ll be driving through your state 🙂 Hopefully I’ll get in some runs in scenery that doesn’t include palm trees 🙂

      2. Sweet haha! And the weather looks amazing too. I’m looking forward to escaping the humidity for 10 days. It should make me feel like I’m flying ha! 🙂

  8. You are CRUSHING it! Way to go! Nice job on those splits. Where are you getting your track workouts from? A coach? I don’t blame you on the hurdles…I still have a scar on my shin from one that I had a tangle with in high school. Love the pics – looks like a gorgeous time of year there!

    1. Thank you!! I was pretty excited. I do get my workouts from a coach. I’ve been working with him since August! I went to him injured, and he’s a great coach but I just haven’t been 100% healthy to see what his workouts can REALLY do! If I wasn’t using him, I like the workouts in Pete Pfitzinger’s book, Advanced Marathoning. There’s some pretty badass track workouts in there. I definitely don’t think I’m coordinated enough for hurdles and would end up with a matching bruise for sure!

  9. What a week!! That strategy that you got from Ashley sounds like a really great strategy and I think I’ll try it. If it works for me to, huge props to her!! I love when people figure out these little details to get those legs moving faster 🙂 Way to crush those 3200’s too!!! Amazing pace!
    I think the best part of this was that your husband when and ran with you! That’s so awesome!! How did he feel afterwards? Do you think he’ll be up for it again? That’s some crazy elevation!! If we do a run like that, fair warning I will be slowww as all heck!

    1. Her strategy worked awesome on Saturday but not so awesome for me last night – I had SUCH a nasty run! It was super humid – I don’t think anything was going to make it go by faster! I think the best part of the week was Sunday with my husband, too! We were slow as heck – like 13 min miles! There is actually a race on that trail in July called the Quadzilla 15K trail race. I think the fastest I’ve ever done that course in was like 1:26 or something – like 9 min pace. It’s SO hard. There are some hills in the middle that you just have to walk. I would not suggest it as a long run before Grandma’s – one loop is 8.5 and it would be a death wish to do two loops. But we could totally do it this summer – it’s really run!

      1. Sounds great! It would definitely make us stronger!!! With that elevation, 9 min miles are AMAZING!!! I tried running last night too – luckily it was with a friend – but it was not fast at all. It was so sticky and hot out and I was sweating by mile 2! I was so glad when we were done with our 5 miles. Thank god I wasn’t planning on going longer…

      2. Understandable…but at least you know you’re not alone in this struggle! I wish spring weather had lasted a little longer before skipping right to summer :/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s